Friday, January 23, 2015

Off the Cuff

I just passed the 30,000 word milestone in Archanum Manor, 19,000 of those words penned in January so far. My goal has been to do 1000 words a day, and while I haven't quite kept that average this year, I'm only 4000 words off, which isn't too bad. Even though I still have a lot to write, it feels good to be back in the swing of things. I have written at least a few new words nearly every day, which fuels my momentum to the finish line.

I had posted a few months back that I would thoroughly outline this book to maximize my writing efficiency. I've known for awhile now that I need to write faster and I wanted to experiment with comprehensive outlining to accomplish that. It was interesting how my outlining sessions became my most unproductive writing and idea producing days--turned to weeks--ever. I don't know if it was fear of digging into this final book in the series holding me back or simple distractions of the upcoming holidays, but I just had to pick a date to start writing, with or without an outline.

So Archanum Manor is my first book being written with absolutely no outline. I started with a general idea of what was going to happen, a couple major plot points, and a climax scene I dreamt up while writing SUSY Asylum. But that's it. I've been writing daily, plotting the next thousand words during my long work commutes. If I have the next thousand words figured out, then at least I can sit down at my computer each night without simply staring at the screen for extended periods of time (though some nights involve more staring than others).

The cool thing about working without a clear path to the end is coming up with ideas you weren't expecting. I came up with an idea last week that changes the whole ending of what I had planned for the series, which excited me almost as much as getting to the end. A part of me believes that if I'd written my comprehensive outline, I might not have been as open and accepting of this curve ball because it would have deviated from the plan. So maybe this was the reason my outlining wasn't working--it left me open to more possibilities. I like that idea and sounds like something Mr. Gordon would say.

I will attempt to outline my next book, but right now, writing off the cuff is rather exciting. I still have about 40,000 words to go. Who knows what other ideas will manifest just to shake things up. Anything's possible.


  1. Good for you! A thousand words a day is a good goal.
    You have to do what works for you. I have to outline and know exactly where I am going, or I get stuck. And although I outline and plan to death, it still leaves room for changes and new directions. Not drastic ones, but little things.

  2. Congratulations on your progress. It sounds like the story is really flowing organically and that's a good sign.

  3. Wow you are making great progress! Congrats and I hope it keeps up. I agree, it can be fun to just write and see where it takes you.

  4. 1000 a day is awesome! I'm trying to build myself up to that.

  5. Usually I NEVER write with an outline! But this time around, I'm TOTALLY writing with an outline… ha.

    And Michael, you're killing it. I'm SO glad to hear you're writing. That makes me so happy. I hope everything else is wonderful too! :)


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